Kennel cough is often caused by a combination of bacteria and/or viruses that are frequently seen in places where dogs congregate in small areas such as at dog parks, grooming parlors, and in boarding kennels. I also find that the incidence of kennel cough is highest under conditions where pets are fed poor nutritional diets, as well as in places with poor hygiene and cleanliness. While many pets develop only mild symptoms, other dogs may develop signs of a croupy cough with occasional secondary fever and pneumonia. In most cases, however, signs are usually transient and will typically resolve on their own within 10-14 days. In more severe cases, veterinarians will often prescribe antibiotics and/or cough suppressants; however, these are not as helpful when the cough is due to a virus.
In my experience and opinion, I have NOT found vaccination to be effective in preventing kennel cough, and I actually have seen higher incidence of infection in vaccinated dogs throughout my 23 years of practice. I am also concerned that dogs who have been vaccinated with modified live nasal kennel cough vaccination may be a potential source of infection for whooping cough type illness in immune compromised humans in the immediate environment of vaccinated dogs. It is for the reasons above that I don’t recommend vaccinating for kennel cough if possible.
Not sure if your dog has kennel cough? Learn to recognize the symptoms of kennel cough.